Should Man United Really Be Considering Barcelona’s £100m Pogba Bid?

By timgarrett IN Premier League,Transfers - 19:45 Aug 6th 2018

There a very few footballers on the planet that command as many column inches as Manchester United’s Paul Pogba and this summer has been no different for the flamboyant Frenchman.

Despite emerging from the World Cup in Russia as a champion and a tournament star, the 25-year-olds club career appears far from settled. Last season’s apparent spat with José Mourinho left him out of the side for an extended period, and well-informed sources continue to speculate that super agent Mino Raiola is actively trying to engineer an Old Trafford exit for his client.

Barcelona are the latest suitors to grab the headlines, with Raiola believed to be Manchester-bound with a £100m offer in hand. Given the fees flying around currently it may seem well under market value, but some suggest that the club are interested regardless.

Clearly, all United fans would love to see Pogba fulfil his undoubted potential at Old Trafford. He has all of the attributes to be their first Ballon d'Or winner since Cristiano Ronaldo, after all. The fact that some still question how badly he would be missed, however, is illuminating.

Paul Pogba
CLUB Manchester UnitedAGE 25Y 4M
POS MIDHEIGHT 6FT 1IN
2016/17
WITH
WITHOUT
Matches
30
8
Win %
53%
25%
Draw %
37%
50%
Loss %
10%
25%
Avg Goal for
1.5
1
Avg Goals against
0.7
0.9
Mins per goal for
58.7
90
Mins per goal against
122.7
102.9
Shots for per game
11.7
8.5
Points per game
2
1.3
Clean sheets
14
3
TOTAL
11

Pogba shone during the 2016/17 season, his first back in English football after his £89m return from Juventus. Playing in 30 of the side’s 38 Premier League matches, he was a bright spark in an otherwise uninspiring campaign, and United’s results improved in almost every regard with him in the side.

More goals were scored, fewer goals were conceded, more points were gained and, ultimately, United achieved a far higher finish than many could argue they would have without Pogba. A year in, he was looking like a very fine investment indeed.

Paul Pogba
CLUB Manchester UnitedAGE 25Y 4M
POS MIDHEIGHT 6FT 1IN
2017/18
WITH
WITHOUT
Matches
27
11
Win %
67%
64%
Draw %
19%
9%
Loss %
15%
27%
Avg Goal for
1.9
1.5
Avg Goals against
0.8
0.6
Mins per goal for
47.6
58.2
Mins per goal against
115.7
141.4
Shots for per game
10
6.7
Points per game
2.2
2
Clean sheets
13
6
TOTAL
8
3

Last season’s statistics, however, are less clear-cut. Pogba missed 11 of United Premier League outings this time around, yet his absence was not so keenly felt.

One of Mourinho’s major gripes has often been Pogba’s attitude to defensive duties, and his criticism is arguably vindicated by the fact that average goals conceded per game went up with him on the pitch.

While United did also score more regularly and win marginally more matches with Pogba in the side, the difference was nowhere near as pronounced as the previous season.

Clearly, Pogba is A-list. He’s box office. He’s a superstar, and clubs like United need such individuals. But they also, at times, need them to take control of matches and show exactly why they have such big reputations. Pogba did that repeatedly for France in Russia, but too often he failed to do so for United in the Premier League last season.

The blame cannot all be on the man himself, however. Mourinho’s tactics have regularly failed to bring out the best in top-level players over the years, and this looks like the latest example. If Pogba is to realise his potential at Old Trafford, work is required from his manager.

The talent of the player, however, cannot be questioned. If he left United would lose so much, and they would stand little to no chance of finding a replacement for the £100m banked. He must be kept, prioritised and given every available opportunity to succeed, and any approach in the coming days should be dismissed out of hand without a second’s hesitation.

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